Kier Starmer + more things

11 minutes estimated reading time

Kier Starmer and new new Labour

Starmer’s Britain – Portland – Kier Starmer is considered to be the most likely prime minister after Rishi Sunak. In some respects this feels like 1996, all over again. The then Conservative government back then was buffeted by scandals such as the Arms to Iraq affair report, the BSE crisis and the slow drip of sleaze.

Depending when in 2024 the general election happens, we will have had 14 years of Conservative rule and the government has been dogged by scandal.

2020 03 Photostream (16)

Rewind to 1996

Unlike Kier Starmer era Labour, back in 1996, Labour looked like a political party chock full of ideas. Will Hutton’s The State We’re In focused minds on what a future Labour government would look like and long term thinking. Tony Blair and the policy wonks around him seeded the media and academia around them with their new ideas. Blair even used a computer system to analyse Conservative parliamentary statements and gain the upper hand in prime minister’s question time.

Back to the present

Kier Starmer and the modern day Labour Party isn’t the Labour of 1996. There isn’t the buzz of modernity about them. There is no vision thing at the moment. They are defined by not being the tories. Public Affairs specialists Portland have tried their hand at kremlinology to paint a picture of what a Kier Starmer-led government is likely to look like, should it get into power.

A number of people who contributed were veterans of the Blair – Brown administration. They recognise that Kier Starmer and colleagues are likely to inherit a country with problems across the economy, public services and infrastructure. The Kier Starmer administration is unlikely to share the globalist viewpoint of Tony Blair, partly due to decoupling and partly due to Brexit.

All of which makes the Kier Starmer five missions for a Better Britain look like a pipe dream without several back-to-back terms in government.

Secure the highest sustained growth in the G7 – with good jobs and productivity growth in every part of the country making everyone, not just a few, better off.

Make Britain a clean energy superpower – to create jobs, cut bills and boost energy security with zero carbon electricity by 2030, accelerating to net zero.

Build an NHS fit for the future – that is there when people need it; with fewer lives lost to the biggest killers; in a fairer Britain, where everyone lives well for longer.

Make Britain’s streets safe – by halving serious violent crime and raise confidence in the police and criminal justice system to its highest levels, within a decade.

Break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage – for every child, by reforming the childcare and education systems, raising standards everywhere, and preparing young people for work and life.

Kier Starmer – Five missions for a Better Britain

Kier Starmer needs his own version of The State We’re In as just under 70 percent of the British public surveyed are neutral to being in disagreement about whether they understand the current Labour vision for Britain.


From iPhone to iBank: Analysing Apple’s Embedded Finance Adventures – WhiteSight – the similarity of Apple and Sony’s diversified focus becomes more apparent in my eyes

Founder of Failed Chinese Bike Sharer Ofo Sets Up Coffee Chain in US | Yicai Global


G7 issues strongest condemnation of China as it intensifies response to Beijing | Financial Times

China faces ‘big’ debt risks in drive to narrow urban-rural gap, Beijing forum told | South China Morning Post 

To invest or cut loose: western carmakers’ China conundrum | Financial Times

The True Story of Ah-Q 

The Ugly Chinaman – The China Story 

English universities warned not to over-rely on fees of students from China | The Guardian

The China-Mexico fentanyl pipeline: increasingly sophisticated and deadly | The Guardian

Domestic power reshuffles in 2022 and US-Taiwan-China relations | Brookings Institute

Despite risks, EU continues to fund research with Chinese military-linked universities | Science|Business

US accuses ex-Apple engineer of stealing trade secrets and fleeing to China | Financial Times

🛫 Axios China: DOJ indictment alleges China’s United Front involvement in repression

Americans favor government ban of TikTok by more than 2 to 1 | Pew Research Center – sounds like a vote winner

This Australian news show is interesting, for how all the different members of the 5I’s chipped into the briefing on China.

Consumer behaviour

A decade on, I still wonder if I should have given my daughters a smartphone | Financial Times


This Shopping Mall’s Design is So Bad, It Made Me Question Reality | by Shirley Lee | Apr, 2023 | Medium – post modernism in action


Most Britons say Brexit has been ‘more of a failure’ | YouGov 

Ageing populations ‘already hitting’ governments’ credit ratings | Financial Times 

Decoupling is just going to happen – by Noah Smith – it has its own momentum


New Rolls-Royce chief says one of group’s key units had been ‘grossly mismanaged’ | Financial Times


Global investment banks’ profits drop in China | Financial Times

Can Chinese Payment Apps Gain Traction Globally? | ChinaFileChinese fintech companies and their super-apps will still revolutionize global finance. In this excerpt from his book The Cashless Revolution: China’s Reinvention of Money and the End of America’s Domination of Finance and Technology, Chorzempa explains why Chinese fintech has thus far struggled to gain a foothold in the international market, but will likely inspire other companies to replicate the fintech super-app model in their home countries


The Gen Z appeal: Why classic beverage brands are suddenly rebranding | Marketing-Interactive – its an interesting read, but doesn’t take into account Coca-Cola’s ‘one brand‘ move as well

Kotex and Ogilvy join forces to debunk female menstruation myths with new campaign | Marketing-Interactive 


SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD Suffer Sudden Failures: WD Responds | Tom’s Hardware

TDK becomes MEMS partner for tiny TriLite projection display | EE News Europe

How earphones freed the individual | Financial Times – on the impact of cocooning


BMW to start making new EVs in China from 2026 | DigiTimes


People too tired to lead healthier lifestyles, UK survey finds | Health | The GuardianA survey has found that tiredness is why 35% of people don’t make the changes to their diet and physical activity levels that would help them close the gap between good intentions and concrete action. The results, from a YouGov poll of 2,086 UK adults for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), illustrate the barriers many people face in their desire to adopt and stick to healthy habits. When asked what was stopping them from eating more healthily and exercising more often, 29% of men and 40% of women cited “feeling too tired”

🛫 Axios China: DOJ indictment alleges China’s United Front involvement in repression

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Court Blocks Jimmy Lai’s UK Lawyer in National Security Case – Bloomberg

Hong Kong, mainland can’t afford more incidents that tarnish ‘one country, two systems’ | South China Morning Post 

Unit of Chinese state-owned developer Greenland to apply for Hong Kong virtual asset trading licence, CEO says | South China Morning PostGreenland is the first state-owned enterprise to express interest in entering Hong Kong’s market for digital assets. Greenland Financial Technology Group aims to trade assets including cryptocurrencies, NFTs and carbon credits

The Lost Planet of Hong Kong | NewsroomThis just in from Hong Kong. Its chief executive has corrected the language of a journalist for asking a question at a press conference about the  pro-democracy protests of 2019: “First of all, it is not [called] the 2019 protests. It is the black violence.” And: a 23-year-old has been charged under the Beijing-imposed national security laws for allegedly “intimidating the public in order to pursue political agenda”. He was attempting to stage a protest, otherwise known as a black violence. Also: a satirical cartoonist has been sacked after a government official complained about a drawing that mocked local elections, and his books were removed from libraries. When approached by the last signs of independent journalistic life in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Free Press, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department commented, “Books that are suspected to potentially violate national security law will be immediately removed for review.”


There’s no such thing as a digital native | Financial Times 


Concerns Over the Return of the Military in Indonesia | Asia Sentinel


IBM announces new 10-year, $100M quantum-centric supercomputer initiative – SiliconANGLE

First commercial space station plans spinning gravity | EE Times Europe 

Russia says hypersonic missile scientists face ‘very serious’ treason accusations | Reuters


Young women in South Korea are live-streaming their suicide attempts | The Economist – the South Korean government announced its fifth “Master Plan for Prevention of Suicide”. Mental-health check-ups will now be available every two years, rather than every decade. Beyond that, the plan proposes different approaches for the young and old respectively. (Over-70s have the highest suicide rates in Korea.) For women in their 20s and 30s who live alone, South Korea will make available more counselling and therapy

Comparing South Korea’s Hallyu and China’s Guochao | Duxue Consulting – but Guochao is also full of negative political implications and an example of Chinese hubris gone mad


Richemont says it is not for sale after reporting record earnings | Financial Times 

Hublot Launched A Watch Made From Recycled Nespresso Pods | WeRSM – Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Nespresso Origin is limited to just 200 pieces. Priced at $24,100


A New PR Tech Company Just Launched That Uses OpenAI to Take on Giants Like PR Newswire and Business Wire – EZ Wire is not terribly surprising as a business model. I expect similar SEO startups as well


The crackdown on risky chemicals that could derail the chip industry | Financial Times 

A New PR Tech Company Just Launched That Uses OpenAI to Take on Giants Like PR Newswire and Business Wire – EZ Wire is not terribly surprising as a business model. I expect similar SEO startups as well

Plastic bottles deep dive | Quartz – I didn’t realise that they were only invented in 1973


ITV reveals slump in ad revenues and predicts tougher times ahead | ITV | The Guardian


Media Context and Brand Suitability cartoon – Marketoonist | Tom Fishburne 

Russians’ search histories contradict polling on pro-war sentiment | Fast Company – story indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of what Google Trends is and the data that it represents

Google Will Delete Accounts Inactive For Two Years | WeRSM 


Miniso Focuses on Expanding Its Presence in the American Market – Pandaily


The Underground History of Turla, Russia’s Most Ingenious Hacker Group | WIRED

Chinese state hackers are infecting TP-Link routers with custom, malicious firmware | TechSpot


The Rise of Generative AI Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT — Information is Beautiful and How Kevin Kelly is using AI in his creative process | Dropbox Blog and Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey? | The New Yorkeras A.I. becomes more powerful and flexible, is there any way to keep it from being another version of McKinsey? The question is worth considering across different meanings of the term “A.I.” If you think of A.I. as a broad set of technologies being marketed to companies to help them cut their costs, the question becomes: how do we keep those technologies from working as “capital’s willing executioners”? Alternatively, if you imagine A.I. as a semi-autonomous software program that solves problems that humans ask it to solve, the question is then: how do we prevent that software from assisting corporations in ways that make people’s lives worse? Suppose you’ve built a semi-autonomous A.I. that’s entirely obedient to humans—one that repeatedly checks to make sure it hasn’t misinterpreted the instructions it has received. This is the dream of many A.I. researchers. Yet such software could easily still cause as much harm as McKinsey has



What is the Old Money aesthetic and why is Gen-Z so in love with it? | Prestige Online – this reminded me of how hip hop culture and brands like Phat Farm drew influence from the preppy look in the 1990s and 2000s

What actually represents good taste and good style was discussed in this old show from the 1970s, which makes an interesting perspective to reflect on.


Support for Taiwan’s meaningful engagement with the WHO – GOV.UK 

Web of no web

China Successfully Launches 56th BeiDou Navigation Satellite – Pandaily


The Lex Newsletter: Hiroshi Mikitani should admit Rakuten Mobile has flopped | Financial Times